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German Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Moist and flavorful German apple cake is full of fresh apples and comes together quickly. The cinnamon brown sugar cream cheese frosting takes it to the next level!

piece of cake covered with cinnamon brown sugar cream cheese frosting and topped with a pecan half

A simple but delicious German apple cake is always a hit, especially when topped with cream cheese frosting. I gave mine a cinnamon brown sugar cream cheese frosting twist that knocked it right on out of the park!

German apple cakes have always been a hit in my eyes. They would occasionally make an appearance at a fall get together and the combination of flavorful cake and cream cheese frosting is just perfect.

I love how easily the cake batter comes together. There is nothing fancy or complicated about it.

The hardest part is prepping the apples and it’s worth every ounce of effort. The resulting cake is full of soft apple chunks.

There is a perfect balance of sweet and spice. There isn’t so much cinnamon that you can’t taste the apples, just enough to tickle your taste buds.

bowl of cake batter with chunks of apple in it

Then there’s the texture. It’s a denser cake, but in a good way. All of those apples help make it that way.

It almost reminds me of a cross between a blondie and the cake mix box texture you might be used to. The edges are slightly crispy, it forms a slightly crackly crust and the inside is moist and delicious.

9x13-inch cake pan filled with freshly baked apple cake with slightly crackly top and golden brown color.

Just thinking of it makes me want to run to the kitchen and bake another! I would hear no complaints about it either.

Honestly you could probably stop there and serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and have an out of this world experience. But in my world cakes need frosting!

piece of dense german apple cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting ready to eat.

That’s part of what I loved about these cakes growing up, the cream cheese frosting! Its the creamy and slightly tangy topping that brings it together.

Plus that layer of cream cheese frosting almost makes it the apple version of everyone’s favorite, pumpkin bars!

Now I could have left well enough alone and made the classic cream cheese frosting we all know and love. But that’s not really my style, now is it?

After a few minutes of staring at my pantry, an idea struck. Why not warm up the cream cheese frosting with brown sugar?

Bowl of cream cheese frosting with cinnamon and brown sugar mixed in and beaters, ready to use.

Why not, indeed! So of course I did.

And while we are warming things up, why not some cinnamon as well? I’m sure your experience with me thus far and the recipe title told you where I fell on that as well. 😉

And I’m glad I did. The results were still the creamy goodness with slight tang you’d expect from cream cheese frosting, but with a little something more.

Whole german apple cake topped with cinnamon brown sugar cream cheese frosting and pecan halves.

As I do with most cakes, I brought it to family dinner at my parents’ house. Despite a large dinner, the cake basically disappeared. Even my husband went crazy over it.

He was disappointed when he learned it was gone before he got a second piece. He should know by now he has to act fast for that sort of thing.

Little Dude and I polished off what was left the next day after lunch. I’m sure we invited him to join too…. or maybe not!

two pieces of german apple cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and pecans.

If you love apple desserts, you will have to check out the recipe for applesauce cake from last year. It is a layered beauty that is wrapped in caramel frosting.

Or if you love the idea of this cake, but don’t have fresh apples on hand, applesauce bars would be a great alternative. They are quick and easy to make and they taste amazing!

If you are a frosting fanatic like me, check out my Frosting 101. It goes through the different types of frosting and links to all sorts of delicious recipes!

piece of dense german apple cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting ready to eat.

German Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
A simple but delicious German apple cake is always a hit, especially when topped with cream cheese frosting. I gave mine a cinnamon brown sugar cream cheese frosting twist that knocked it right on out of the park!
5 from 7 ratings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


German Apple Cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped apples

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3 Tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • cups powdered sugar
  • cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • toasted pecans or caramel sauce optional toppings



  • Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9×13″ pan.
  • In large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and vegetable oil. Stir in vanilla.
    3 large eggs, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until combined.
    2 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients and then fold in the apples.
    4 cups peeled and chopped apples
  • Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. (A few wet crumbs are ok)
  • Cool completely


  • In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, salt, and butter until smooth and fluffy.
    12 ounces cream cheese, 3 Tablespoons butter, 1 pinch salt
  • Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes or until completely combined and smooth.
    2¼ cups powdered sugar, ⅓ cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Spread over cooled cake.
  • Garnish with nuts or a drizzle of caramel if desired.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 639kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 6gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 348mgFiber: 2gSugar: 66g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 10th of October 2018

Oh my goodness, gimmie a fork! I will take all of your apple desserts. Have a great week, Carlee!

Liz @ Books n' Cooks

Sunday 30th of September 2018

This looks really good. The cake sounds wonderful (like the perfect snack cake for mid-afternoon) but that frosting... cream cheese and brown sugar? Yes please!


Sunday 30th of September 2018

Perfect to take along to a potluck! Will keep this one! Thanks for the link up on our apple recipes for celebrate blog party!


Friday 28th of September 2018

Did you mean "moIst - moist" and flavorful the first line?


Thursday 27th of September 2018

Hi Carlee, I popped by your blog a couple of days ago to hunt down that Dutch apple cake recipe (it's that time of year again) and saw this recipe! It nearly threw me, except I didn't have the cream cheese. I still made the Dutch apple cake, I do use brown sugar and add cinemon to the crumble topping of that too, just because I love the combination... I will be tryng this recipe out for sure!



Friday 28th of September 2018

cinnamon - not cinemon